Hill Palace Museum

Weather :

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : Adults: INR 30,
Children (5-12 years): INR 10,
Camera fees: INR 20,
Video camera: INR 150

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Hill Palace, Kochi Overview

Located at Tripunithura, The Hill Palace is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. It was built in the year 1865 and was once the Imperial Administrative offices and official residence of the Maharaja of Cochin. Just as the name suggests, the massive palace is located on a hill and has a beautiful garden.

Built in 1865, the Palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style, spreading across in 54 acres. The complex has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children's park. The huge white coloured buildings are neat, clean and well maintained. The terraced lawn, ponds and fountain are perfect for outdoor photography. The palace is also famous for being the backdrop of various movies. The most popular amongst them is the Malayalam movie Manichitrathazhu. 

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Tips For Visiting Hill Palace

1. Photography is not allowed in the museum.
2. Wear Comfortable footwear so that you can roam around the garden.
3. Carry hats, sunglasses and water bottle to endure the heat.
4. Shoes are prohibited in the main building, apart from that you can wear them everywhere else.
5. There is a storage facility available for keeping the shoes.
6. Don't forget to feed the animals at the deer garden. They interact quite well with the visitors.
7. Walking around the well-maintained garden is an enjoyable experience. It also provides a perfect backdrop for photographs.
8. There is also an eatery available inside the complex.

History of Hill Palace

The Hill Palace was built in the year 1865 by the erstwhile Maharaja and is now the largest archaeological museum in the state of Kerala. Before Tripunithura, the capital of the Cochin kingdom and the royal office was located in Thrissur. However, the royal family of Cochin had a matrilineal custom. This means that the queen was the sovereign of the state, and the king ruled under her authority. After 1775, the queen and her assistants moved to the city of Tripunithura, thereby shifting capital to the new city. Later, the kings started preferring to stay at Tripunithura, leading to the construed a new royal office in 1865. Gradually, court buildings, secretary office and various other official and residential buildings were constructed.

The magnificent Hill Palace was later on handed over to the Kerala government by the royal family in 1980 and was taken under control by the Department of archaeology. They converted the palace into a museum, and it was first opened for public viewing in the year 1986.

Architecture of Hill Palace

The Palace-turned-museum has been recently renovated with a few changes. A two-metre wide walkway is built around the palace complex. The walkway is lit by fancy lamps on decorated cast iron pillars. Two hundred lamp post has also been added to light the locale during early morning and night. Apart from that the already elegant door has been repaired, replaced and decorated with integrated wood carvings.

It is built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture. On display in the full-fledged Ethno-archaeological museum are oil-paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family and royal furniture including the simhasana (throne).

Antiques at Hill Palace Museum

The enormous palace complex is famous for being a full-fledged ethnoarchaeological museum and the first ever heritage museum of the state. Upon visiting, one can see the oil paintings, murals, sculptures, swords, crowns, coins, manuscripts and various other belongings of the Kochi royal family.

Apart from that, antique ceramics from the Far East, Kudakkallu (tombstone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), laterite memorials, contemporary art and wooden memorials from ancient civilisations like the Indus Valley and Harada are also kept for display here. The main highlight among the above is the Gold crown which is embedded with precious stones. The rooms in here are also huge, declaring the lavish lifestyle of former kings and his household.

Built in 1865, the museum at Hill Palace is famous for being a full-fledged ethnoarchaeological museum and the first ever heritage museum of the state. This museum also houses the Centre for Heritage Studies (CHS), which is an autonomous research and training institute.

Galleries at the Museum: The complex house 18 different galleries and the most important among them are:-
The cabinet gallery: Displaying the royal throne and chairs.
The Portrait Gallery: Oil portraits of The Maharaja and certain Thanjavur paintings.
Wood Carvings Gallery: Various wood carving belonging to the 14th century including unique ivory items and wooden sculptures.
Jewellery Gallery: The Royal Gold crown embedded with precious stones and various other items.
Epigraphy Gallery: Copper plates, inscriptions, palm leaf records etc.
Folklore and Folk Arts gallery
Numismatic Gallery
Chariots Gallery
Sculpture Gallery: Stone sculptures from 10th to the 18th century.
Weapons Gallery 

Ettukettu: At the museum, you can see the oldest building of the complex. It is a single-storied with two courtyards called ettukettu. Nearby are a pond and a temple.

Pottery and Ceramic Vases: Antique vases from Japan and China are kept in the display. Apart from that Kudakkallu (tombstone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock-cut weapons from the Stone Age, wooden temple models, plaster cast models from Indus Valley Civilization are also on display.

Things To Do at Hill Palace

Explore Flora and Fauna: The palace complex house a variety of Flora including various medicinal herbs.

Deer Park and Children's Park: The deer park houses around 50 deer. Here you can interact and feed the animals. The children's park is a beautiful place for photography and also has facilities for horseback riding.

Shopping for Artefacts: You can shop around the local markets to collect artefacts and buy local goods.

Best Time To Visit Hill Palace

Summers are quite hot due to the tropical location. So, it is best to visit the Hill Palace in the winter months of October to March. The soothing weather this time will enhance the sight-seeing experience.

It is best to visit the palace during the daytime so that you have enough time to cover all the attractions.

How To Reach Hill Palace

Kochi is the central city, offering various travel amenities. You can take a bus to reach the palace from Kaligachira Bus Stand. The city of Ernakulam is 10 km from the Hill Palace. You can hire an auto rickshaw from here. It should cost around INR 350 return with about an hour wait time.

If you are travelling by a private vehicle, you need to pay the parking fees.
Two Wheeler: INR 5,
Light Vehicle: INR 10, 
Heavy Vehicle: INR 20

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